Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Healthy, Happy Runners - We Did It!!

Two weekends ago, we completed the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland!!  This was both my husband's and my first race longer than a 10k so it was quite a momentous weekend.
Special carpets just for the race!!
We went to the Expo to get our bibs and goodies on Friday, which proved to be a good plan in order to avoid crowds an chaos.  We also didn't need to rush once we got to Anaheim on Saturday, since the Expo closed at 5pm and we didn't get to Anaheim until around 3:45pm anyway.  We also didn't need to do much walking the day before the race, which was great.
At the Expo with my first half marathon bib!!  EEEEE!!!!
Since we ran with Team In Training, we had our hotel and dinner the night before the race taken care of, which I'm sure cut down on stress!  We headed to Anaheim with our very own cheerleader (my wonderful sister-in-law) on Saturday afternoon and relaxed the rest of the evening among our friends and new TNT family.
Thanking all of our fab friends and family for donating to our fundraising campaign!
The night and sleeping went by so quickly that all of a sudden, it was 3:30am and we were meeting the team in the lobby of the hotel to head to the corrals!  RunDisney races begin SO early (presumably to both beat the heat and allow the parks to open somewhat normally) so we needed to be at the corrals by around 4:30am at the latest for the 5am start time.  If you have never run a Disney race, I highly recommend it.  In proper Disney fashion, everything was organized, easy to navigate and FUN!!

I ran with one of my teammates (who wasn't even PLANNING on running the whole time!) and had a blast.  I won't lie, it was TOUGH.  I trained pretty hard since September but honestly, I could have used another two months to train in order to not be hurting during the race.  I also happened to hurt my left arch at our last practice and catch a stomach bug the Monday before the race.  So, I was admittedly not in what I would call "race ready" physical condition as much as I would like.

Nonetheless, I FINISHED!!  I ran/walked the whole time at a 1:1 interval.  Lots of people do this on the Disney course, especially since the plans they offer have run/walk intervals.  I highly recommend it if you're doing your first longer race.  I felt much less terrible the whole time than I would have if I had tried to run the whole thing!  I ran 14:35 minute miles for a finishing time of 3:11.  My goal was to finish in less time than the course max (3:30) so I beat my goal and obviously set a PR!!  Easy to do on your first race!

They had plenty of aid stations that I never felt like I wasn't getting enough water.  The volunteers were so kind and the cheerleaders and marching band members from local schools cheered us on the whole way!  The best part was, of course, the first 5+ miles that wound through the parks but coming back at the end to a packed finish line area was pretty awesome as well.  I got so emotional in the last mile stretch ("Oh my goodness, I'm actually going to do it!!") that my teammates and coaches were laughing a little.  I worked really hard to get to that finish line and I reveled in giving Mickey a high five before throwing up my arms and giving the photogs a huge smile.

If you're not running now, you CAN complete a half marathon.  I pretty much went from couch potato to half marathon finisher in about 3.5 months.  I recommend sticking to your training plan (like really stick to it, don't just say you are and then skip a run or two each week, you're only sabotaging yourself) and remembering that running or run/walking does NOT mean that you can eat crappy food and be unhealthy, in general.

AND - I did all my training as a vegetarian and then a (mostly) vegan!  I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for the first month or so of training and then I cut out all dairy and almost all eggs for the remainder of training.  I still sometimes eat (overpriced) certified humanely raised and pastured eggs but I will most likely stop eating even those very soon, depending on where the birds go once they're done being laying hens. Matt at No Meat Athlete or any other vegan/vegetarian/plant based runner will tell you, it's doable and worth it!!
After a hard-earned delicious lunch at ESPN Zone with friends!  Look at that bling!
Did anyone else run the Tinker Bell race?!  What have you learned by running as a veg athlete!?

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